There are three ears of corn in this painting, and when I was almost done with it I realized I had painted each one differently. In order I painted the top left, top right, bottom right. I didn't have my "visual code" that creates consistency, fluidity, harmony, and identity. This last piece is something I strive for; when a viewer can look at one of my paintings and know its mine by not only composition, subject, color, etc., but also by the mark making--what comes from my hand. There's something basic and primal about that part of making art that, perhaps ironically, equals a more seasoned artist.
Back to my stew: When I saw the differences in the corn, I decided I liked the first one best then brushed off the other two to start them again. What made the first ear best? I had worked it the least. It was the one that gave the impression of corn without me having to draw each kernel. I knew the corn would be a challenge for me to achieve that balance of done and not done. The same way that a brick wall or stone path or leafy tree is difficult to paint. For me, it takes deliberate (and slow) mark making.
On the flip side of the dinner table, the shrimp were easy to paint with consistency. They have some striping, but they were more about color and form instead of texture. I imagine fried shrimp would've been difficult. And crispy and salty and delicious.
I hate signing my name on a painting. I think it's clunky, messy, and draws too much attention. Maybe that's just my eye on my own work. I don't seem to be bothered by other signatures. When I took Chris Ivers's pastel course last month, she made a point to talk about signing work, so I decided to try again.
Hate it. On my last pastel I tried it at least six times in two places. Then I got mad at all the pastel I was wasting fixing my attempts. My answer was to write it on the back in a paint pen (on black Gatorboard). If it were ever framed there's no need for a backing to be added, so you could see my little inked name. I must remember this benefit to using Gatorboard.
I did sign--maybe three times--this pastel pictured. Can you even see it? No? Good, then I did it right.
Later is what?
After settling into various desk jobs, I always said I'd get back to painting later in life, and later is now. Again means that I tried once before. I decided to write about my painting endeavor, too, as a learning tool, an accountability tool, and to stay sharp in case I have to go back to a desk job. Again.
I love periodicals, and if I weren't trying to devote more time to painting I'd mail paper copies. Sign up here, and I'll conveniently send it (blog posts, sales, and new work) by e-mail instead.